US 8044656 B2
Device for calibration of a field transmitter comprising a shaped body on which there are disposed first means for sensing magnetic fields the activation of which allows calibration of a first measurement parameter of the transmitter, second means for sensing magnetic fields the activation of which allows calibration of a second measurement parameter of the transmitter, magnetic actuation means suitable to activate said first and second means for sensing magnetic fields. Said shaped body is configured so that it can be removably connected to the transmitter on the external surface of the enclosure thereof.
1. A device for calibration of a field transmitter wherein it comprises a shaped body on which there are disposed first means for sensing magnetic fields the activation of which allows calibration of a first measurement parameter of the transmitter, second means for sensing magnetic fields the activation of which allows calibration of a second measurement parameter of the transmitter, magnetic actuation means suitable to activate said first and second means for sensing magnetic fields, said shaped body being configured so that it can be removably connected to the transmitter on the external surface of the enclosure thereof.
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The present invention relates to a device for calibration of a field transmitter having improved structure and characteristics. This application is a 371 of PCT/EP07/52592 filed on Mar. 19, 2007.
It is known, in industrial process control systems, that to sense/measure one or more physical variables of a process fluid, i.e. absolute, relative or differential pressure, flow, level and the like, specific field transmitters are widely used.
In their most common and widespread embodiment, these field transmitters comprise a suitably configured enclosure, inside which there are housed the various components for sensing, typically including: a pressure sensor to obtain easily from one or more relative, differential or absolute pressure measurements, measurement values also relating to other physical variables of the controlled process fluid which would be more difficult to transduce directly; appropriate primary electronic circuits for processing signals coming from the pressure sensor; secondary electronic circuits for processing signals coming from the primary electronic circuits and then delegated with managing communication with other transmitters or with control units; displays for on-site viewing of the sensed variables, terminal blocks for the various connections; and electrical power supply circuits of the components, etc.
In addition, these transmitters are generally provided with specific devices to perform calibration operations which during installation allow setting of a minimum value, generally zero, and a maximum value, typically the span/full scale value which define the ends of the measurement range of said transmitter.
In many industrial processes the environmental application conditions, i.e. in the presence of hazardous gases, require installed transmitters to be explosion proof; this means that any sparks, flames or hot gases generated inside the enclosure, i.e. due to a short circuit in the electrical power supply circuits, are contained therein without in any way spreading to the outside.
These applications in explosive environments clearly have an impact on calibration methods, as it is desirable for the relative devices to be configured to maintain the explosion proof characteristics of the transmitter and limit as much as possible the relative risks during calibration operations.
For this purpose, over the course of the years various solutions have been developed, in almost all cases aimed at providing calibration devices that can be operated from the outside of the transmitter enclosure so that it does not need to be opened to perform these adjustments.
At the current state of the art, although functioning efficiently, known calibration devices have some drawbacks and aspects that are not entirely efficient, in particular in relation to their constructive structure with regard to the overall number of components required, the configuration and functionality of at least some of these, and their installation and applicative use.
An example in this sense is described in the U.S. Pat. No. 5,278,543. In this case, two magnetic switches are installed in a chamber inside the enclosure of the transmitter; two blind holes are produced in the outer surface of the enclosure, in the area in which the magnetic switches are disposed; a permanent magnet with relative spring is inserted in each of the blind holes and the assembly is pressed by means of a screw; a rubber washer interposed under the head of the screw ensures that the blind hole is sealed from the outside environment. The two blind holes with relative screws are then covered by a plate attached with screws on top. In this case, to perform calibration operations the covering plate must first be removed, and then the screws inserted in the blind holes must be loosened; this allows extension of the spring and relative movement of the permanent magnet, which in this way magnetically actuates the corresponding magnetic switch inside the enclosure. The electronics associated with the two magnetic switches consequently adjust the two minimum and maximum, or zero/span values, of the transmitter. At the end of the operation, the operator must reposition all the components.
It is evident that the construction of this type of solution is complex, in view of the operations to position the various elements and the need for very low margins of tolerance, and require particularly laborious operations.
The principal aim of the present invention is to produce a device for calibration of a field transmitter, which allows the previously cited drawbacks to be overcome, and in particular, which with respect to known devices has an optimized constructive structure, both as regards installation and simplified use, and offers suitable characteristics of reliability and safety in use.
This aim is achieved by a device for calibration of a field transmitter, characterized in that it comprises a shaped body on which there are disposed first means for sensing magnetic fields the activation of which allows calibration of a first measurement parameter of the transmitter, second means for sensing magnetic fields the activation of which allows calibration of a second measurement parameter of the transmitter, magnetic actuation means suitable to activate said first and second means for sensing magnetic fields, said shaped body being configured so that it can be removably connected to the transmitter on the external surface of the enclosure thereof.
Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will be more apparent from the description of preferred but not exclusive embodiments of the device according to the invention, illustrated by way of a non-limiting example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:
In the embodiment illustrated in
Advantageously, on the shaped body 1 there is also disposed an electronic circuit 30, of which
According to a preferred embodiment, the shaped body 1 comprises two principal component parts of which: a first component 10 to which the first and the second means for sensing magnetic activation fields 2 and 3 are operatively connected, which is suitable to be removably connected to the enclosure 101 of the transmitter 100; and a second component 20 to which the magnetic actuation means are operatively connected, which is connected to the first component 10 movably in relation thereto; preferably, the second component 20 is coupled to the first component 10 rotatably in relation thereto.
Advantageously, the two components 10 and 20 are coupled relatively movably to each other so that, in operating conditions, the magnetic actuation means are positionable in a neutral non-activating position of the first and of the second magnetic means 2 and 3, or in activating position/positions thereof; in particular, the magnetic actuation means are housed on the body of the second component 20 and are configured to take, following movement of the second component 20 with respect to the first component 10, besides the neutral non-activating position, a first position for activating only the first means for sensing magnetic fields 2, or alternatively, a second position for activating the second means for sensing magnetic fields 3. In the embodiment illustrated in
Preferably, the second hollow portion 12 is threaded on at least part of the external surface 14 thereof, to allow screwing into a corresponding seat 102 provided on the outside of the enclosure 101 of the transmitter 100.
In turn, the second component 20 comprises a substantially solid body in the shape of a push button having a lower portion 21, i.e. substantially cylindrical in shape, suitable to be inserted inside the first hollow portion 11, and in which there is produced at least one seat 22 to house the magnetic actuating means, and an upper or top portion 23 which projects from the first hollow portion 11 to be actuated by an operator.
The magnetic actuation means preferably comprise an activation magnet 4 and a protective shield 5, produced, for example, with a plate made of ferromagnetic material, which are housed in two respective seats 22 produced in the lower portion 21 of the second component 20, for example, by forcing them into said seats 22 so that they are substantially integral with said second component 20.
In turn, the first and second means for sensing magnetic fields comprise, respectively, a first magnetic switch 2 and a second magnetic switch 3, constituted, for example, by reed relays, which are positioned on a supporting element or board 7, on which an electronic circuit 30 operatively connected thereto is also disposed; this supporting element 7, with the components disposed thereon, is housed in the second hollow portion 12 with the ends inserted in corresponding grooves produced in the inner walls of said second portion 12.
In a preferred embodiment of the device according to the invention, the two components 10 and 20 are mechanically coupled to each other through means for operatively connecting and guiding the second component 20 in relation to the first component 10; in particular, these connecting and guiding means comprise a stopper pin 6 which, as illustrated in
Moreover, the means for operatively connecting and guiding comprise an elastic element 8, such as a spring, which is disposed housed inside the first hollow portion 11 so as to encircle the lower portion 21 and act in contrast with the upper portion 23 of the second component 20.
During use, the device with the various elements assembled is operatively connected to a transmitter by operatively connecting the electronic circuit 30 to the electronics of said transmitter; in particular, this operation can be performed simply by connecting two wires, indicated schematically in the figures by the reference number 9, to the terminal block 35 of the transmitter which in turn is connected to the electronics 36 of said transmitter. The device is then connected mechanically by screwing the first component 10 into the threaded seat 102 so that the device takes the position illustrated schematically in
When calibration is performed, starting from the position in
The same situation is obtained by rotating the second component 20 in the opposite direction to the previous one, with the pin 6 sliding in the other branch of the race and guiding movement so that the magnetic field determined by the magnet 4 and shield 5 assembly activates only the other magnetic switch 3, as illustrated in
Activation of each magnetic switch 2 or 3, which in practice causes them to switch from an OFF state to an ON state, allows passage of a corresponding input signal towards the electronic circuit 30; this signal is suitably processed through: a microprocessor 31, i.e. a model PIC 10F206 microcontroller, which receives the input signal and emits a corresponding signal, i.e. in the form of a square wave type signal; a signal generator 32, i.e. a band pass filter, which filters the output signal from the microprocessor 31 transforming it into a sinusoidal type physical signal; and a circuit to adjust the power supply voltage 33 which is operatively connected to the terminals through the wires 9 and allows adjustment of the power supply voltage of said circuit 30 and protection against heating, overvoltages, etc.
In output, through the connection wires 9, the electronics 30 communicate to the electronics 36 of the transmitter 100 that activation of one of the two functions has taken place, i.e. through a digital communication protocol, i.e. of the HART type; consequently, the electronics of the transmitter set first one and then the other of the parameters as a function of the signal received from one or other magnetic switch 2, 3.
In this way, the two parameters are in practice calibrated in sequence; as stated, these parameters allow, for example, setting of the zero and span/full scale values of the transmitter, thereby defining the ends of the measurement/sensing range.
In practice, it has been seen how the calibration device according to the invention allows the aim and the objects set to be fully achieved, providing a series of advantages with respect to prior art. In fact, the device is produced according to a constructive structure optimized both as a whole and in the single elements, easy to install and use, and functionally efficient. In particular, the device has a functionally stand-alone structure, on which all the basic elements required for calibration operations are positioned directly, and which is coupled to the transmitter on the outside thereof as a sort of separate accessory, replaceable or removable at any time.
This stand-alone functionality also allows it to be used with transmitters that are not have electromagnetic components inside for calibration operations.
The entire assembly is produced in full compliance with the requirements of reliability and safety; in fact, thanks in particular to the configuration of the two components 10 and 20, there is in practice a clean separation between the external atmosphere and the internal part of the transmitter as the only interaction is the initial one to connect the connection wires 9, and calibration operations take place exclusively from the outside of the transmitter body; any flames or sparks that are generated inside cannot spread to the outside as the thread on the external surface 14 forms a sufficiently long and safe flame path.
As previously mentioned, the device according to the invention can be used with various types of field transmitters for measuring a variable of a process fluid. Therefore, a further object of the present invention is a transmitter, in particular a pressure transmitter, characterized in that it comprises a calibration device as previously described.
The device thus conceived is susceptible to numerous modifications and variants, all falling within the scope of the inventive concept; for example, the shaped body 1 could be produced with a different number of components, the shaping of the components 10 and 20 could be modified, as could the reciprocal positioning of the various elements, provided that this is compatible with the functionalities for which they have been designed and configured.
Moreover, all details can be replaced by other technically equivalent elements; in practice, the type of materials within the scope of the applications described above, arid the dimensions, can be any according to requirements and to the state of the art.